This is not good-bye...

Trip Start Jan 15, 2005
Trip End Jun 01, 2005

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Flag of United States  , Wisconsin
Friday, January 14, 2005

This is not good-bye... 01.14.05

Two days left until I leave for Philadelphia, and one week from today I¡¦ll be in Uzbekistan. I was lying in my bed at my parents' house and realized I have only two more nights to sleep in the warmth and safety of my parents' home. Saying good-bye to the people I love and everything I know has been and continues to be the most difficult experience in my life thus far. Arriving in Philly will be like the first day at a new school. There will be 66 other volunteers to meet and at this point many questions come to mind: will I make a good impression?; will they like me?; will I make friends? These doubts are ridiculous when I think about it more, but they are still there nonetheless. Facing the unknown is an opportunity to be my best friend, to make a deeper connection with my inner strength. I love my friends, both old and new, and I appreciate their presence in my life. But I feel I have maybe relied on other people to often, because I felt uncomfortable being alone, perhaps for nothing to "talk¨ about, or maybe afraid I wouldn¡¦t enjoy the "conversation¨. The reality is, whether I meet new friends right away or it takes a while, I will need to rely on myself, primarily, for comfort and friendship over the next 27 months. I am excited, in a "first time on a rollercoaster¨ sort of way, for this chance for growth.
My circle of friends in Houghton and around the world (and you know who you are :)) are so important to me, our memories are gifts that I have stored in a beautiful box, tied up with ribbon to bring with me in my suitcase. I will open the box to draw upon the memories, but to also place new memories in the box. I think distance and time can take their toll on relationships, but with some effort I see our friendships growing and deepening through the challenge of time and distance. Many will be leaving for their own Peace Corps journey, spreading around the world. How exciting to think of the millions of stories told and the warmth of friendship encompassing the globe!!! Some friends will remain in where they are, holding down the fort. Thank God for them, familiar faces when the time comes to return.
Our lives are full of challenges, but how do we grow otherwise?? I leave you with some inspiring words¡K

"I know I've only been here for awhile, but I know there are many reasons to smile.¨
-Seth Bernard

"If you don't have butterflies, how can you fly to new adventures.¨ -Dan LeMay
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